HC demands apology from Pune lawyers for going on strike

Terming the 15-day strike by lawyers to press the demand for a High Court bench in Pune, the Bombay High Court today asked the Pune Bar Association to file an affidavit tendering an apology.

"The lawyers have committed contempt and breach of the Supreme Court's guidelines which forbid them from going on strike," said the division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Revati Mohite-Dhere, adjourning till July 27 a petition filed by activist Manoj Oswal against the strike.

The judges, who had also initiated a suo motu (on its own) action against the strike, asked the Pune Bar Association to give an undertaking that its members would not resort to such a practice in future.

The court also asked the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa to file an affidavit on what steps it was planning to take to ensure that the lawyers do not go on strike.

Counsel for the Pune Bar Association P K Dhakephalkar told the Court that the strike had been withdrawn following a resolution passed on July 4. He also said that the lawyers were not on strike but were participating in an agitation.

The HC, however, pulled up the members of the Pune Bar Association, terming the strike as "illegal." Judicial work in Pune Courts had been paralysed for nearly a fortnight as lawyers abstained from work.

Chief Justice Mohit Shah had also written a letter to the Pune Bar Association asking them to withdraw the strike and assuring that he was ready to meet them.

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